By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
November 03, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3- The DAP said today that it will initiate legal action against Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam as well as Umno-owned daily Berita Harian for making false allegations against DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.
DAP national chairman Karpal Singh demanded that Ali Rustam as well as Berita Harian “ retract and apologize unconditionally” for claiming that Lim had uttered seditious remarks during a PAS ceramah in Sungai Terah, Gua Musang.
“In lieu of the seriousness of the allegations made against Lim Kit Siang, I’ve been instructed as the party legal advisor to take action against Berita Harian and the CM of Melaka, Ali Rustam. It’s a very serious matter in that it adverts to something is very sensitive and something which can be abused… Berita Harian should be responsible. In fact a police report will be lodged against Berita Harian for publishing false news. This is an offence under the Printing Press and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984,” Karpal told reporters today.
Umno-owned daily Berita Harian, in a news report dated yesterday had accused Lim of saying “orang Umno kafir” (Umno members are infidels) during a PAS ceramah in Sungai Terah, to “influence Malays to vote for PAS” for the Galas by-election.
The article quoted Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam as saying that Lim’s alleged remarks were made in the presence of PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during a ceramah in Sungai Terah.
Lim had earlier this morning denied uttering the remarks, and maintained that he was not even present at the function.
“This is a slanderous accusation…I never said this and I was not even there (at the ceramah). This is a twisted and irresponsible plot to spread racial and religious hatred,” Lim told reporters earlier.
Besides that, Karpal added that he was preparing a writ summons to be served to Ali Rustam as well as Berita Harian in the “next few days.”
He said that even if the Malay daily or Ali Rustam came out with an open apology, legal action would still take place.
“If they retract or apologize, that does not mean an action cannot proceed in court. It can. Damages, the retraction and apology will be taken into account. If they don’t apologize, then the damages will be increased.
“Their retraction and apology is not a defense. It is only taken into account in assessment of damages, it is not a defense. In fact it is an admission,” said the lawyer-cum-politician.
It is understood that Putrajaya Umno Youth had lodged a police report against Lim over the Berita Harian report.
“I also want to take the opportunity to warn UMNO Youth not to lodge reports that are false. In fact the police should take action against UMNO Youth for lodging false reports,” said Karpal.
The DAP lawyer said that the party did not want a precedent set whereby individuals would be able to get away with making defamatory allegations.
“It’s not so much the damages, it’s a matter of principle. We don’t want a precedent set where with impunity, people can make statements that are defamatory towards leaders in Pakatan Rakyat,” said Karpal.